What makes Mike great for this job?
In my experience as a school board member and as a policy maker at the state level, I have found spending your time looking for someone to blame or making excuses is a waste of valuable time. Our time is better spent finding the root causes of the problem, providing teachers with the tools and incentives to provide innovative alternatives, be bold and seek results that will tear down the barriers to growth and opportunity for our students, helping our students grow and thrive, and embrace parents as partners as we open new vistas for our students.
I am proud of what we have accomplished in my four years as a San Juan School Board member, but there is much more to be done. Here are my top six priorities and the actions and activities that are necessary for their accomplishment.
Improved and Expanded Academic Opportunities
- Continue the upward trajectory of graduation rates, growth of our libraries, expansion of our career/technical programs and the expansion of innovative, applied coursework to support our new graduation requirements
- Expand the availability of advanced, honors, accelerated, project-based, real-world, and applied and Credit Recovery courses at all of our comprehensive and specialized high schools
- Expand after-school tutoring and support activities
- Continue extended support of our refugee and English-learning students and families
- Expand opportunities for self-expression and creativity in the Visual and Performing Arts in every school
- Expand the number of support, career and technical, and hands –on, real-world and applied courses in every middle school
- Continue expansion of summer school opportunities
- Assure that special education classes have the resources they need, reasonable staff-students ratios and appropriate inclusion activities
- Assure that our innovative practices are extended to all schools, including our lower income communities
Expanded Partnerships with our Community of Learners
- (which includes parents, businesses, service clubs, faith-based organizations, non-profits, teachers, classified employees and administrative employees)
- Provide opportunities for on-the-job training, internships, observations, job shadowing and other real world experiences
- Develop and continue joint training programs with community and four year colleges, union organizations (such as Certified Diesel Mechanics), small and large businesses (such as Kaiser Permanente)
- Continue to invite our partners to be part of our pilots and innovative programs to explore what are the best educational options for our students
- Recognize that among our most critical partners are our bargaining units that represent our teachers and specialists and our classified employees. It makes very little sense to treat them as adversaries.
Safe and Secure Schools
- Provide safe and secure schools by modifying, renovating or building new facilities using a “safety by design” approach
- Train students to be observers of their surroundings with the expectation that they will employ a “see something, say something” approach, as school safety is the responsibility of all in our learning community
- Develop and periodically update plans, accountability measures and communication strategies. Remember one size does not fit all kinds of emergencies
- Develop safe schools protocol with all first responders
Effective, Common Sense Use of Taxpayers’ Funds
- Continue to be a careful steward of public funds continuing our record of six straight positive, certified budgets
- Continue our efforts as California’s most energy-efficient “green” school district
- Continue to reduce our carbon footprint while reaping millions of dollars of savings (and making renewable energy part of our curriculum)
- Assuring that every school has a site-based energy use plan and providing rewards for the most energy-efficient schools
- Employing a district-wide energy software system to control use, start and stop times, and looking for spikes and capturing anomalies
- Besides having our capital improvement (bond money) projects coming in on-time and on-budget, projects will be energy efficient by design to reduce our kilowatt consumption
- Continue our priority and practice of allocating our budgeted funds as close to the classroom as possible
- On budgetary and policy practices we will be guided by a pledge of transparency and commitment of fairness to our students and partners in our learning community
Increased Student and Parent Voice
- I pledge to continue my practice of answering every question, returning every email or phone call sent directly to me, accepting all invitations where I do not have a conflict, listening as carefully as I can and offering as honest an answer as law and student and employee privacy rights allow
- Increase the number of students on groups that advise the school board
- Expand the use of student, parent and community member listening circles where participants talk first and school board members listen
- Expand the use of Thought Exchange to learn community member preferences and priorities
- When invited, meet with student and parent clubs and groups to hear their views and priorities
Expand Support Systems for our Students
- Continued expansion of funds to hire college and career counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, autism specialists and social workers
- Expand the use of restorative and social justice practices to all middle schools and high schools
- Expand character education activities and employ cooling off periods as much as possible
- More tutoring opportunities offered by community members, grandparents, and members of service organizations to assist struggling students, newcomers, English learners, homeless students and foster children
- Continue to offer specialized programs for English learners and refugees
- More systematic use of all interested adults (classified and certified) that populate schools to act as sounding boards, trusted listeners and constant encouragers of our students
- Use all available data to inform practice in the case of incidences of suspension, willful defiance, chronic absences, and truancy
- Create a welcoming environment for all students and parents new to our schools and students who feel marginalized for any reason, and assure that the hallmark of great schools starts with how we treat each other, and anything less than kindness is not tolerated
educator - father - Experienced Leader
Mike is a lifelong teacher, parent and community member dedicated to improving schools and developing star teachers for our students.
Mike has taught in elementary, high schools and colleges for fifteen years. He volunteered in his son’s classrooms and other classrooms in the district for the last fifteen years, tutoring, talking about his experiences around the world including his service in India, teaching the school’s anti-bullying curriculum and other duties as needed. He has visited hundreds of classrooms and interviewed thousands of teachers across the country seeking what it takes to be a great teacher and building self-renewing schools. In his term on the Board he has visited every school and facility in the district, many of them multiple times to help, to listen, and to encourage.
By teaching villagers how to raise chickens in India as a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in the Big Brother Program, working with children as a coach and umpire, giving blood (ten gallons), serving in the Rotary Club of Orangevale, participating in community advisory boards, such as volunteering at Stage Right Productions, a children’s theater company, and Oak Park Rotary House providing free lodging for families whose children are receiving services at UC Davis, Mike is committed to making our communities a great place to learn and grow.
SCHOOL AND DISTRICT GOVERNANCE
Mike was elected to the School Site Councils at the elementary schools where his son attended. He was appointed to the district’s Curriculum, Instruction and Student Services Committee and served for eight years. He served on the district’s Strategic Planning team, and was asked by his son’s high school to serve on the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee. In his one term as a School Board Trustee he served as President, Vice President and Clerk. He was elected by his peers to be a member of California School Board Association’s state Delegate Assembly.
Mike has been involved in research on teaching since 1972. He has participated in more than thirty research studies in the areas of school improvement, staff development, curriculum design, and teacher development. This research resulted in more than eighty publications including books, chapters, governmental reports, and refereed articles. As a member of the San Juan School Board, Dr. McKibbin has been active in efforts to increase the use of well researched, successful programs implemented by other districts across the country and to use the information that we collect to expand student opportunities, improve teaching strategies, create real world, advanced and challenging classroom opportunities for our students.
Mike has been involved in the development of innovative materials and strategies for teachers and classrooms throughout his career. From his first days as a teacher he rewrote the Sophomore World History curriculum and readings to make them readable, engaging and challenging to his struggling students. When Class Sizes were reduced in California causing the largest shortage of teachers in the state’s history, he created a program that would bring into teaching thousands of second career, military and instructional aides who wanted to become a teacher using a “learning by doing” format. Through this program he enabled nearly 60,000 persons to become teachers in California’s hardest to staff classrooms with forty-eight percent representing racial and ethnic minorities.
Dr. McKibbin was involved in the development of education policy for twenty-seven years while working at the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Over the years he made more than ninety presentations that made policy recommendations on teacher certification and teacher preparation and to this Governor appointed board. He was involved in the drafting of legislation on the topics of subject matter preparation for elementary teachers, linking professional growth and continuing education to credential renewal and providing alternative, practice-based ways to become a teacher. Mike is frequently asked to testify before the California Legislature on critical issues facing education.